IGD - Economics bulletin 20 April

Date : 20 April 2021

Your overview of political and economic news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest developments and guidance on COVID-19 and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

Improving trading environment

There is reported to be strong consumer demand for hospitality venues for outdoor service following the easing of Covid restrictions from 12 April. A further increase in demand is anticipated when indoor hospitality is expected to re-open after 17 May. However, revenue and profits are still constrained due to social distancing restrictions and additional costs associated with COVID-19 security measures.

Defra is seeking feedback from industry with regards to the impact of social distancing measures in business settings. This follows an update from the government on the four reviews established in the roadmap

The trading environment is also reported to be stable with no significant issues around availability.

Logistics – driver shortages

Defra is holding discussions with senior officials at the Department for Transport over reports concerning driver shortages. COVID-19 has significantly impacted recruitment, training and driving tests for new drivers.

Composite products containing products of animal origin (POAO)

New rules for the export of composite products to the EU will come into effect on 21 April, introducing new EHCs for composite products as well as new documentation for composite products exempt from certification. 

Defra has confirmed that composite products containing dairy products that have been pasturised will be able to be certified. The EU Commission has confirmed it is amending the Animal Health Regulation (AHR) to allow businesses to use a private attestation to export shelf-stable composite products containing dairy that has not undergone UHT or sterilisation, so long as the dairy product originates and is processed in a third country listed for the export of dairy to the EU, such as GB.

As the legislative amendments will not be in place by 21 April 2021, when the new Regulation applies, the Commission has agreed an interim arrangement.

The new EHCs are available on EHC Online (ECHO). Updated guidance, frequently asked questions and a composite product decision tree have been published.

These new requirements relate to changes to EU law (Animal Health Regulations) which apply from April 2021 and impact on traders who export certain animals, germinal products and products of animal origin.

Northern Ireland – Digital Assistance Scheme (DAS) development

Defra has launched the Digital Assistance Scheme API Forum and is inviting organisations to take part in the development phase for the EHC Online (Export Health Certificate Online) Application Programming Interface (API).

Businesses can register for forum events on 21 April and 28 April.

See here for further information about DAS.

Successful groupage pilot

A successful pilot has taken place to test a pallet-level sealant approach for the movement of mixed consignments of goods exported to the Republic of Ireland (groupage). Further pilots are now expected to take place for the following:

  • More complex loads
  • For movement of goods to Calais, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam
  • For the movement of mixed consignments of goods imported to the UK

Key dates for UK-EU transition and support for businesses

Businesses trading with the EU should be prepared for the introduction of further border controls on the following dates:

  • 21 April – Regulation (EU) 2016/429 on transmissible animal diseases (the EU’s Animal Health Law) comes into effect, introducing new EHCs for composite goods containing products of animal origin (POAO) as an ingredient, as well as new documentation for composite products exempt from certification. 
  • 30 June – The grace period for sending certain Prohibited & Restricted goods (P&Rs) from GB to NI ends.
  • 21 August – New model of EHCs is required for POAO exported to the EU, following the end of the transitionary arrangements allowing the use of current EHCs
  • 1 October – POAO and all regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification and health documentation to be imported into the UK.
  • 1 October – End of the grace period for supermarkets and their suppliers moving goods into Northern Ireland. The start of a phased introduction of the Export Health Certificates for POAO exported to Northern Ireland from GB.
  • 1 January 2022 - Safety and Security Declarations for imports required. Physical checks required at Border Control Posts (BCPs) for POAO and certain animal by-products, and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin. Physical SPS checks of high risk plants also to take place at BCPs. Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks required for low risk plants and plant products.

Complete customs declarations for imports to the UK will be required. Importers may no longer defer making declarations. Tariffs will become payable at the moment of import.

  • 1 March 2022 – Physical checks at BCPs for live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

The UK government has issued guidance specifically for food and drink businesses.

Register here for upcoming webinars on trading with the EU.

IGD has also provided additional support to help businesses with EU Exit. Businesses may also wish to refer to the EU EXIT Foodhub, an FAQ website for food and drink businesses

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